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SELF-CONCEPT AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC 
LEVEL OF NEGRO TEENAGE GIRLS 



by 'To c? 

VERLYNE EMMA FOSTER 
B, S., Langston University, 1957 



A MASTER' S THESIS 



submitted in partial fulfillment of the 



requirements for the degree 



MASTER OF SCIENCE 



Department of Family and Child Development 



KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY 
Manhattan, Kansas 



1969 



Approved by: 



m^ 



Id^i^C^t^ ^yCc^C/l^. 



Major Professor 






ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



The author wishes to express appreciation, for the 
guidance and counsel of Dr. Marjorie Stith who served as 
advisor for this thesis, Dr. Ruth Hoeflin and Dr. Stephan 
Bollman, members of the advisory committee. Without 
their efforts this research would not have been possible. 

Also, appreciation goes to Charles, my husband, who 
supported this period of study and thesis writing immeasur- 
ably with his interest, understanding and encouragement. 



ii 



"^i'-J^iTtU 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

ACKNOVi/LEDGMENTS il 

LIST OF TABLES iv 

Chapter 

I. INTRODUCTION 1 

II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 10 

Formation of Self-Concept 
Prejudice: Self-Concept Development 
Poverty: Self-Concept Development 
Segregation-Integration: Self-Concept 

Development 
Education: Self-Concept Development 
I dentity- Acceptance: Self-Concept 

Development 
Self- Actualization 
Measuring Self-Concept 

HI. PROCEDURE 24 

IV. RESULTS 28 

• Background Information 
Socio-E conomic Position 
Parents' Education 
Parents' Occupation 
Family Structure 
Aspirations of Subjects 
Grade Point Average of Subjects 

V. DISCUSSION . ^5 

VI. SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS 5 3 

LIST OF REFERENCES 57 

APPENDIX 61 



iii 



LIST OF TABLES 



Page 



Table 

1, Comparison of Self Scores and Other Scores Obtained 

by Bills and Foster , , . 29 

2, Self Scores and Other Scores of 14A Subjects ..... 30 

3, Hollingsheads' Two Factor Index 32 

4, Social Class Level of Subjects with Positive and 
Negative Self Scores 33 

5, Educational Level of Subjects' Parents ........ 35 

6, Occupational Levels of Subjects' Parents . . 37 

7, Description of Family Structure ............ 41 

8, Grade Point Average of Ninth Grade Subjects ...... 44 



IV 



CHAPTER I 



INTRODUCTION 



Psychologists, sociologists and other educators have 
recently shown much interest in the development of concepts, 
particularly those related to the self. Self-concept refers 
to the process of identity development which occurs in each 
individual (Kvaraceus, 1965). The question, "Who am I?" 
must be faced by every individual and his answer will either 
be the beginning of a satisfying maturation and life exper- 
ience, or the beginning of a steadily depressing regression 
into antisocial behavior (Gregory, 1966), 

Whatever it is that causes an individual to act or not 
to act, a significant role is played in this determination 
by what the person thinks about himself (Wylie, 1961). A 
person's view of himself determines in part how he will behave. 
Consequently, one's self-concept is important. 

The problem of achieving positive self-concept is inten- 
sified for the Negro because for years he has been made to 
feel inferior. Racial and cultural pride often are not felt 
by the Negro child, partially because Negro history has been 
excluded from the school textbooks. He has no past of his 
own, no heroes. This exclusion often leaves the child with- 
out Negro models to imitate or identify with. An effort to 
counteract this lack of cultural pride is at the heart of 
the black movement with its many variations of "black is 
beautiful." 



Another factor that has hindered the development of 
positive self-concept among Negroes is an unstable family 
structure, a home in which the Negro male does not perform 
according to the norm because in many instances he cannot 
secure adequate employment, Lumer (1965) stated that Negroes 
often earn far less than whites with comparable education, 
even in the same jobs. Kvaraceus, et, al. (1965) described 
the Negro state: the last hired and the first fired, charged 
more for insurance, a harder time obtaining credit or any 
kind of bank loan and relegated to living in decaying sections 
of town. In spite of all this, the enduring grief lies in 
being made to feel different, inferior, as if one is "a sub- 
human breed of animal," 

During slavery, Negro family life as it existed centered 
inevitably around the woman, A variety of economic and social 
factors since Emancipation have kept the woman in dominant 
roles (Silberman, 196A), Whereas the Negro father is often 
unable to obtain employment, the mother can frequently find 
employment as a maid or baby-sitter. Restlessness, partially 
created by this economic status, often causes the Negro male 
to desert his family. He cannot assure his wife of support 
or his children of food and shelter (Grier and Cobb, 1968), 
More Negro girls than boys go to college — among whites, the 
reverse is true — so the matriarchy perpetuates itself 
(Silberman, 1964). 

Because of this "pattern of life," many Negro children 
have few experiences with stability, warmth, attention and 



security from tx^io pareriuSi •'^^ °^ which are taken for granted 
as part or the necessary environment for positive self-concept 
development, Jersild (1952) stated high school teachers find 
many Negro youngsters have had a long history of being pushed 
about, neglected or rejected, with damaging effects on their 
attitudes toward themselves. This is especially true of 
youngsters from disadvantaged homes. 

The black man was brought to this country forcibly and 
was completely cut off from his past. He was robbed of 
language and culture. He was forbidden to be an African and 
never allowed to be an American, Other groups have come to 
these shores and retained an identification with their home- 
land. Except for the Negro, all sizable groups in America 
have been able to keep old customs and traditions. In support 
of this Grier and Cobbs (1963, p, 23) stated: "The Jew 
achieves a sense of ethnic cohesiveness through religion and 
a pride in background, while the black man stands in soli- 
tude." 

Other factors that have contributed to the Negro's 
feeling of inferiority include low quality education, crowded 
living, and poor working conditions. These conditions have 
also been thrust on many immigrants upon their arrival to 
this country. However, with higher education, achieved 
social status and cultural chauga, they often lose their 
"foreign identity" and become accepted in our society as 
first class citizens. In the main, Negroes are different. 



Regardless of education, cultural change or acquired status, 
they are marked to remain separate or different. 

Self-concept is the value core that marks behavior and 
determines one's general outlook on life. To quest for and 
not be able to achieve, to dream and never see dreams 
realized, to work to no apparent end, to try without success 
and to search without finding, has been the legacy of Negroes 
for generations. The odds are small that a Negro child can 
grow up without being abused or patronized, without being 
convinced by a hundred big and small humiliations, that he 
has no worth and no chance (Silberman, 1964), It is note- 
worthy then, that a black child in America can emerge with a 
positive self-concept in a country with a heritage of racism. 
Any group of people subjected to the same conditions of the 
Negro would probably behave accordingly, complete with the 
development of negative self-concept. Perhaps, a big factor 
in negative self-concept stems from the low plateau on which 
the Negro male is placed. Without him in a leadership role, 
it is difficult for Negro families to fit within the "texture 
of white America," 

Attitudes concerning race are formed at an early age. 
By first grade, if not sooner, Negro children have negative 
feelings about themselves. Silberman (1964) sites research 
that was done with Negro and Caucasian slum children at the 
Institute for Developmental Studies, New York Medical 
College, The youngsters were given a test in which they 



were asked to complete a number of sentences. One of them 

read: "Vlhen I look at myself, I feel ." 

Thirty percent of the Caucasian children completed the 
sentence with some unfavorable judgment about how they com- 
pared to other children, buc a full eighty percent of the 
Negro slum children drew an unfavorable judgment about 
themselves. This self-deprecation continues and expands as 
the child matures. Goodman (1966) stated that even at the 
age of four, children regard "white" as right, good, pleas- 
ant, and "black" as wrong, dirty, and unpleasant. No one 
wants to be black. 

Long ago in the United States, basic decisions were 
made. The most important of these made color the crucial 
variable. This began as the cornerstone of the system of 
black slavery. After refinement, it has remained to become 
imbedded in the national character. Persisting to this day 
is an attitude, shared by black and white alike, that black 
is inferior. This belief permeates every facet of this 
country and it is the etiological agent from which has 
developed the national sickness (Grier and Cobbs, 1968). 

Black men hear on all sides that success lies in being 
like white people. This cannot be obtained. The question 
posed by Grier and Cobbs (1968, p, 163) is timely: "Is it 
any wonder, then, that this consequence of racial prejudice 
is deadly to the intellectual flowering of black people?" 
The use of hair straighteners and skin bleaches have been 



used by some Negroes, to no avail, in an attempt to come 
close to the white ideal. According to Clark (1963), even 
when the minority approximates the majority group's standards, 
norms and expectations, he may still find himself unwanted. 
Whether a new Negro self-concept is emerging because of 
integration, poverty programs, Negro revolts, natural hair 
styles, Afro-American costumes and other African identifi- 
cation remains to be seen. 

The Negro's self-concept development has been left 
largely to chance, and this is not as it should be. Posi- 
tive self-concept development is essential if one is to 
participate as a "fully functioning" member in society. If 
we are to help young people be self sufficient and productive 
citizens, we must guide them in developing positive self- 
concepts. Before Negro parents, teachers and other signifi- 
cant adults can help young people develop positive self- 
concepts, they must have positive feelings about themselves. 
Caucasian adults working with Negro students must also have 
positive feelings about themselves but in addition, they 
must have positive concepts about Negroes. 

Vfylie (1961) stated that parental concepts are both 
consciously and unconsciously woven into the life pattern 
of children. There is some evidence, not entirely free of 
possible artifact, to suggest that children's self-concepts 
are similar to the view of themselves which they attribute 
to their parents. There is also limited evidence that a 



■•■■^^--~ >'- 



child's level of self-regard is associated with the parents 
reported level of regard for him. Further evidence suggests 
that children see the like-sexed parents' self-concept as 
being somewhat more like their own self-concept. It is of 
importance that parents have positive self-concepts because 
of their impact on self-concept development of their children. 

In spite of society's view of the Negro, a number of 
studies have demonstrated that Negro parents have high aspira- 
tions for their children. All too often, however, the aspira- 
tions remain little more than vague and unfulfilled dreams, 
for neither the parents nor the youngsters have any notion 
of what, specifically, has to be done to fulfill the aspira- 
tions. Nothing in their experience enables them to know what 
kind of aptitudes are required to become a doctor, lawyer, 
or engineer (Silberman, 1964). 

With conditions in our society suggesting that develop- 
ment of positive self-concept is difficult for the Negro 
youth, it is necessary to examine family patterns in order 
to determine whether there is a relationship between particular 
life style variables and development of self-concept. Such 
information could be useful to family life educators, guidance 
counselors and teachers in their work with students and 
their families. Specifically, the objectives of this research 
were to explore differences between Negro girls with positive 
self-concepts and negative self-concepts in relation to the 
following factors: 



1« Social class 

2, Parents' education 

3, Parents' employment 

4, Family structure 

5, Aspirations of the subjects 

6« Grade point average of the subjects 
The following hypothesis was tested: There is no 
relationship between self-concept scores and 

A. Social class level 

B. Educational level of parent 

1. Father 

2, Mother 

C. Occupational level of parent 

1, Father 

2. Mother 

D. Family structure 

1, Marital status of parent 

2, Family size 

3, Ordinal position of subject 
E« Aspirations of subjects 

1* Education 

2, Marriage 

3, Employment 

F. Grade point averages of subjects 



CHAPTER II 

REVIEW 0? LITERATURE 

Self-concept has been variously defined as "that organi- 
zation of qualities that the individual attributes to him- 
self" (Munat, 1968, p. A); "the foundation for the entire 
personality" (Gregory, 1966, p. 53); "a learned constellation 
of perceptions, cognitions and values" (Wylie, 1961, p. 121). 
The self-concept is a vital part in the make-up of each 
individual. 

Formation of Self-Concept 

Moustakas (1966, p. 12) stated that "in the early develop- 
ment of the self, self-confirmation precedes the confirmation 
of others ,. .affirming the value of one's own experience comes 
first in the process, recognition and valuing of others comes 
later," This awareness of self and others grows, through 
making comparisons, finding likenesses and differences (Goodman, 
1966). The home is the first social institution that influences 
a child's attitude. His peers, school, and community are also 
great influential agencies leading to a self-concept that can 
be classified into two broad categories: positive and nega- 
tive. Gregory (1966) stated that from a positive self-concept, 
a happy and productive personality emerges; from a negative 
self-concept comes an unbalanced and unhappy person. The 
self-concept, to be sound, must avoid the two extremes of 
personal evaluation — too much importance or absolute 



10 



worthlessness . To develop positive self-feeling is perhaps 
more difficult for the American Negro than for any other 
group of people. Many years ago the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion was signed. To millions of Negro slaves, who had ex- 
perienced great injustice, this came as a "beacon of hope." 
But one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free. 
The life of the Negro is still crippled by prejudices, 
segregation, discrimination and poverty (King, 1968). 

Prejudice: Self-Concept Development 

Allport (1954) defines prejudice as a feeling, favorable 
or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not 
based on actual experience. Clark (1963) has classified 
prejudices into three categories: positive, neutral, and 
negative. Positive prejudices reflect the accumulated 
knowledge of the culture; it is neither necessary nor reason- 
able for an individual to try to make a personal verification 
of all concepts. Neutral prejudices are those which do not 
help or harm; negative prejudices are destructive and harmful, 
Prejudices against the Negro are of the negative variety. As 
Allport (1954, p. 139) observed: 



What would happen to your own personality 
if you heard it said over and over again that 
you were lazy, a simple child of nature, expected 
to steal and had inferior blood? ... Suppose this 
opinion were forced on you by the majority of 
your fellow citizens and suppose nothing you 
could do would change this opinion because you 
happen to have black skin. 



11 

Even Negroes themselves add to the myth that black is 
inferior. Research has shown that in a number of Negro 
families the lighter skinned children are favored by the 
parents (Herman, 1966), It is also interesting to note that 
most of the Negro leadership group today are not Negroid in 
physical appearance (Kvaraceus, et.al., 1965), Although 
each individual has his own unique personality, shaped by 
his special endowments and experiences, the ubiquity of racial 
prejudice in the United States guarantees that virtually every 
Negro-American faces at some level the impersonal effects of 
discrimination, the frightening feel of being a black man in 
what often appears to him to be a white man's world (Munat, 
1968) , 

Many teachers and principals honestly believe that 
Negro children are educable only to an extremely limited 
extent. When teachers have a low expectation level for child- 
ren's learning, the children seldom exceed that expectation, 
which is a self-fulfilling prophecy (Kvaraceus, et.al,, 1965), 
Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) stated that a child's short- 
comings may originate not in his different ethnic, cultural 
or economic background, but in his teacher's responses to 
that background. Perhaps more attention in educational 
research should be focused on the teacher. 

Fink (1962) stated academic underachieve rs often obtain 
average or better scores on tests of intelligence than the 
academic achievers. This indicates the primary operant 



12 



factor in academic unde rachievemen t is not lack of intelli- 
gence alone. Other factors associated with academic under- 
achievement are hostility, emotional disturbances, poor home 
background, low socio-economic level, poor teaching and 
inadequate school facilities, all of v/hich at one time or 
another plague most Negroes, Jensen (1969) pointed out that 
"many other traits, habits, attitudes and values enter into 
a child's performance in school besides just his intelli- 
gence, and those noncognitive factors are largely environ- 
mentally determined, mainly through influence within the 
child's family." 

A study (Fink, 1962) conducted in a rural high school, 
located in the Central Valley of California, involving ninth 
grade boys and girls, concerned self-concept and academic 
achievement. Self-concept was measured by instruments 
generally used by school psychologists. Collected data was 
presented to three judges, two school psychologists and a 
clinical psychologist. They were asked to make a determina- 
tion as to adequacy of inadequacy of self-concept of each 
child. The results of this study appear to confirm the 
hypothesis that a relationship does exist between adequacy 
of self-concept and level of academic achievement. This 
conclusion appears to be unquestionable for boys, consider- 
ably less for girls. According to Fink (1962) an adequate 
self-concept is related to high academic achievement and an 
inadequate self-concept is related to low academic achieve- 
ment , 



13 



Green (1966) stated that Negro students score lower on 
standardized achievement and aptitude tests. Suburban 
school districts are facing the problem of grouping students 
on the basis of test scores. Consequently, teachers are 
segregating their classrooms. This often produces a feeling 
of inferiority on the part of the Negro student and feelings 
of superiority on the part of the white student. This also 
leads to the negative self-perception of Negro students. 

Race prejudices are developed very early in life, A 
study of the development of racial awareness in Negro child- 
ren was ;-;.ade by Clark and Clark (1955), The investigators 
gave each child a sheet of paper with drawings of a leaf, an 
apple J an orange, a mouse, a boy and a girl, plus a box of 
twenty-four colored crayons. Each child was tested alone 
and asked to color the leaf, apple, orange, and mouse. If 
the child responded correctly, it was assumed that he knew 
what colors things really are. When asked to color the boy 
or girl, all of the Negro children with very light skin color, 
colored the figure representing themselves with the white or 
yellow crayon. The researchers concluded these children were 
reacting in terms of their own skin color. But 15 percent 
of the children with medium-brown skin color and 14 percent 
of the dark-brown children also colored their "own" figure 
with either white or a yellow crayon or with some bizarre 
color like red or green. Yet these children were quite 
accurate in their ability to color the other pictures. Their 



14 

refusal to choose an appropriate color for themselves was 
interpreted as an indication of emotional anxiety and conflict 
in terms of their own skin color. Because they wanted to be 
white, they pretended to be. This often leads to the develop- 
ment of negative self-concept, which is often as crippling 
and just as hard to overcome as any physical handicap. 
Actually, it may be even more crippling because it is often 
hidden from the view of the observer (Kvaraceus, 1965), 

Poverty; Self-Concept Development 

Research has shown that poverty is also a contributing 
factor to the Negroes' problem. A large majority of Negroes 
are confronted with an inadequate food supply, dilapidated 
housing, low quality education, unstable family life, crowded 
living conditions and unemployment, Herman (1966) stated 
that only a small percentage of Negroes are even one genera- 
tion removed from abject poverty. According to Munat (1968), 
poverty means not just density of population or large families 
or dilapidated housing or infestation of vermin or the absence 
of privacy or obsolescent sanitation or low income or unem- 
ployability or retarded education or indifferent politicians 
or the congestion in the streets. It is all of these tangled 
up in the life of each person. The "poverty-stricken" child 
is almost defeated before he has had a chance in life. 

Some psychologists say that differences along class 
lines are apparent by the time children are less than two 
years old, and children from the lower socio-economic classes 



15 

are well behind middle-class children by the time they enter 
school. ..the years from birth to around six are of critical 
importance for the individual's future cognitive develop- 
ment (Rowan, 1969). 

Sep:rep;ation-IntcRration ; Self-Concept Development 

Unjust segregation is still prevalent in America today. 
Under slavery, the black man was a psychologically emasculated 
and totally dependent human being. Black men continue to 
exhibit the inhibitions and psy chopathology that had their 
genesis in the slave experience. The American heritage of 
racism will still not allow the black man to feel himself 
master in his own land (Grier and Cobbs, 1968), A father who 
feels defeated by the v/orld is not in a good position to give 
his son a sense of optimism and a feeling that he can achieve 
something himself (Kvaraceus, et,al,, 1965), 

The idea of integration carries the implication that it 
is better to mingle with whites and be accepted into their 
company than to be excluded. But, again, it is the white man 
who determines which black man will be worthy of his company, 
since few black men can integrate many situations. White 
people must invite black people in, or more accurately, 
must lower the barriers and allow the entry. "Those so 
blessed gain grace through proximity to whites and, by this 
selective process and the advantages which flow from it, 
is the cultural attitude of white supremacy and black 
inferiority maintained" (Grier and Cobbs, 1968, p. 166). 



16 



In the words of Lumer (1965) , for the Negro, the war on 
poverty Is clearly bound up with the war on discrimination 
and segregation. The fight for jobs requires the ending of 
discrimination. The fight for equal opportunity in education 
requires the abolition of segregated schools. And so it is 
in every other aspect of the struggle. 

The 195A Supreme Court decision that segregation of 
schools was unconstitutional pushed many Americans toward 
realization and acceptance of the fact that Negroes are not 
inferior. Generally, Negroes have negative concepts of 
themselves and they behave accordingly. Research seems to 
bear out that individual performance or behavior depends 
not only on how intelligent a person actually is, but also 
on how intelligent he thinks he is (Hamachek, 1968). Con- 
cept of self tends to continue developing in the direction 
in which it starts, consequently, the "beginning years" are 
extremely important in self-concept development. Our present 
Head Start program, low-cost housing and school breakfast 
and lunch programs are some examples of provisions being 
made to give deprived children a "better start." 

Education; Self-Concept Development 

There are many avenues that could lead toward positive 
self-concept development, one of which is education. The 
school is second only to the home as a place where the social 
forces which influence a child's attitude toward himself and 
others is concentrated. According to Jersild (1952), when- 



17 



ever the learner faces an educational situation that has sig- 
nificance for him as a person, the learning which takes place 
will involve a process of assimilation of something new into 
himself ,, «"To adopt the self-concept as a basic concept in 
education will not add to a teacher's load in the long run, . 
for it will make the job of teaching more meaningful and 
significant and more rewarding for the learner," 

Our society is education oriented. With improved educa- 
tion, especially for the Negro male, more job opportunities 
are available. Better jobs provide opportunity for better 
living conditions and a more stable family life. This 
series of conditions should place the Negro in the "main 
stream" of our society and contribute to a more positive 
self-concept. 

The nature of Negro intelligence and learning style 
was the main core of a research project just completed at the 
University of California and reported not only in an educa- 
tional journal ( Harvard Educational Review . Winter, 1969), 
but also in a news magazine ( U.S. News and World Report , 
March, 1969), Jensen (1969) argues that genetics, not 
environment plays the major role in I.Q, scores. To support 
his argument he sites the 1966 findings of the Coleman Report 
of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The 
report states that the environmental rating of the Indians 
was found to be below the Negro average; however, in scores 
on both ability and achievement tests, it was discovered 






18 

that Indians averaged six to eight points above Negroes. In 
rebuttal to Jensen's (1969) views on the role of heredity in 
human intelligence and in racial differences in I.Q., Crow 
(1969) stated: "It can be argued that being white or being 
black in our society changes one or more aspects of the 
environment so importantly as to account for the differences." 

Identity-Acceptance: Self-Concept Development 

Knowing "who you are" is a quality that is essential 
for the development of positive self-concepts. If we solve 
the problem of Negro identity, that is, aid the Negro in 
developing a fully positive sense of self-worth, the economic 
problem may well take care of itself, A person with a secure 
sense of self-worth does not take rebuff as a way out; he 
finds another door to open. Having achieved a sense of 
worth, the individual is able to put to work latent abilities 
so he will learn skills in demand on the labor market 
(Kvaraceus, et.al. , 1965). 

American Negroes have been formed by the United States. 
Africa gave them their color, but America gave them their 
personality and their culture. The central fact in Negro 
history is slavery, and Negroes must come to grips with it; 
must learn to accept it not as a source of shame, but as an 
experience that explains a large part of their present 
predicament. Only if they understand why they are what they 
are can Negroes change what they are. Identity is not some- 
thing that can be found, it must be created (Silberman, 1964), 



19 



After identity comes self-acceptance, often thought of 
as the peaceful and painless co-existence between man and 
his emotions (McDonald, Smith, Sutherland, 1962), The Negro 
must learn to accept himself. The self-accepting process is 
one through which persons are able to achieve a measure of 
understanding about themselves and then are able to handle 
problems more adequately. The person who can accept himself 
is probably more accepting of others, 

Self-Actualization 

The process of self-development and self-concept forma- 
tion continues as long as a person lives, Rogers (1954) 
refers to this process as "the process of becoming." Maslow 
(1950) refers to it as "the process of becoming self- 
actualizing. Following are characteristics of a self- 
actualizing person as described by Maslow (1950): 

I, He sees people and events as they truthfully 
are rather than forming opinions of them based 
on his tastes. 

II, He recognizes and admits to human nature with 
all its frailties, sins, weaknesses and evils 
rather than distorting human nature into some- 
thing he would prefer it to be, 

III, His behavior is simple and natural, 

IV, He is concerned with non-personal tasks which 
he undertakes as his responsibilities or duties 
and which become his mission in life, 

V, Solitude is very important to him; he enjoys 
being alone. 

VI, His growth and development depends upon his own 
potentialities and resources rather than upon 
external satisfactions from other people or 
from the real world. 



20 



VII, Occasionally he feels intense wonder, pleasure, 
awe, and ecstasy from the basic experiences and 
Roods of life. 

VIII, Quite often he feels emotions which are so 
strong, chaotic, and wide spread that he feels 
at the same time more powerful and more help- 
less than he has ever felt before, 

IX, Ke has deep feelings for human beings in 
general and a sincere desire to help the 
human race. 

X« He has deep interpersonal relations with very 

few individuals but the relationships he has 
established are based on deep ties, 

XI, Ke respects the dignity of any human being 
simply because the other person is a human 
being, 

XII, He has definite ideas about what is ethically 
right and wrong and in his daily living he lives 
up to these moral standards, 

XIII, He finds humor from situations poking fun at 
human beings in general, 

XIV, His outlook on life is fresh, naive, original 
and inventive. 

The most essential ingredient for starting a child on 

the road to self-actualization is, according to Rogers (1954), 

the presence of unconditional positive regard. 

Measuring Self-Concept 

Studies dealing with the concept of self came into focus 
during the 1940' s and soon formed a new approach to the study 
of behavior, Snygg and Combs (1949) stated that behavior 
was best understood as growing out of the individual subject's 
frame of reference. Behavior was to be interpreted according 
to the phenomenal field of the subject rather than be seen 



21 

in terms of the analytical categories of the observer. As the 
idea of self-concept was born so were client-centered and self- 
centered therapy. 

The emerging studies on the self have not focused on any 
one area, but, rather, have spread into many areas of psychology. 

Many psychologists believe that if something exists it 
can be measured, thereby stimulating an interest in measur- 
ing self-concepts. Investigators have assumed the self- 
concept can be defined in terms of the attitudes toward the 
self, as determined either by the subject's reference to him- 
self or by askirig him to mark off certain self-regarding 
attitudes on a rating scale, 

A number of methods have been used to measure the self- 
concept, one of which is Stephenson's (1953) Q-sort technique. 
Statements or words on cards are sorted to describe both the 
real and the ideal self. The degree of congruence between 
the two sorts is taken as a measure of adjustment, 

Brownfain (1952) devised a measure of what he termed 
the stability of the self-concept. Subjects ranked them- 
selves on twenty-five words and phrases each describing a 
different area of personality adjustment. The measure is not 
what the subject thinks of himself, but of how sure he is of 
what he thinks about himself. The subject is instructed to 
make the rating twice, first with an optimistic frame of 
reference and then with a pessimistic one. The degree of 
congruence between the two ratings is termed the degree of 



22 



stability of the self-concept. 

Berger's (1952) instrument for measuring attitudes toward 
self and others is a thirty-six item self-acceptance and a 
twenty-eight item others-acceptance scale. The score for 
any item ranges from five to one. The acceptance of self 
and others scores are computed by summing the item scores for 
all items on that scale, A high score Indicates a favorable 
attitude toward self or others. 

In Bills (1957) Index of Adjustment and Values, (Adult 
form) each of thirty-seven character-trait words is ranked 
in three different ways. First, the subject ranks the item 
on the scale according to how well it describes himself. 
Next, he marks the item according to how acceptant he is of 
the way he describes himself. Finally, he rates the item 
as to the degree to which he aspires to be like that item, 
A measure of self-acceptance is provided by the degree of 
similarity between the way the subject sees himself as being 
and the way he rates himself as accepting his self-ratings. 

In an effort to test the validity of the Index of Adjust- 
ment and Values, a study of the acceptance of self was con- 
ducted at the University of Kentucky that involved twenty 
subjects. After the subjects were tested with the Index of 
Adjustment and Values, they were divided into two groups on 
the basis of acceptance of self scores above and below the 
mean score of the group. The Rorschach test was then used 
to measure important personality characteristics of the 



23 



groups. Two distinctly different personality groups v/ere 
found based on the high and low scores assessed by the Index 
of Adjustment and Values. It was concluded that the Index 
of Adjustment and Values is able to separate groups with 
different personality characteristics. 

An abundant amount of literature is available with 
regard to self-concepts and concept formation. The litera- 
ture presented here is focused primarily on factors related 
to self-concept development of Negro youngsters. 



CHAPTER III 



PROCEDURE 



The principal of Martin Luther King Jr., Junior High 
School in Kansas City, Missouri was consulted concerning the 
proposed research. Permission was granted to conduct the 
research during regular school hours. 

Martin Luther King Jr., Junior High School, located 
in central Kansas City, opened for the first time in 
September, 1968. The school, which has three grades, draws 
students from both middle class and lower class families. 
The families are generally of the working class. The 
enrollment of approximately 1200 students is predominantly 
Negro. 

SUBJECTS 



The subjects consisted of 1A4 Negro girls enrolled in 
the four ninth and five eighth-grade home economics classes 
at the junior high school. Six classes were taught by the 
researcher. The questionnaire that was completed in approxi- 
mately seventy-five minutes, was administered to 161 subjects. 
It was necessary to administer the questionnaire on three 
different days. During the three days that data was collected 
a total of forty-seven students were absent. Seventeen of 
the papers could not be used because of incompleteness. Of 
the 144 usable papers, eighty-eight subjects were in the 



25 

eighth grade and fifty-six were in the ninth. Cooperation 
was shown by all the subjects. 

INSTRUMENT 

An information sheet (Appendix, p. 62) was used to obtain 
data concerning the education and employment of the subjects' 
parents, the family structure, and the aspirations of the 
subjects concerning education, employment and marriage. 

Bills instrument (1951), An Index of Adjustment and 
Values (Appendix, p. 67), Junior High School Form, was used 
to measure self-concept or acceptance of self and beliefs 
about other people's acceptance of themselves* The index 
scales for the Junior High School Form, designated SELF and 
OTHERS contained thirty-five trait 'words and were divided 
into three columns: I AM LIKE THIS, THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT 
BEING AS I AM, I WISH I WERE. By checking items, the subjects 
stated in regard to each of the thirty-five trait words that 
he is like this "most of the time," "about half the time," 
or "hardly ever," He also stated how he felt about being 
this way as "I like it," "I neither like or dislike being 
this way," or "I dislike being this way." He then checked 
how he would like to be in respect to each of the traits 
using ratings of "most of the time," "about half the time," 
or "hardly ever," After a subject completed the SELF form, 
he completed the OTHERS form, in completing the OTHERS form, 
the subject thinks in terms of other members of his grade or 



26 

peer group and fills out the form as he thinks the average 
member of his grade or peer group would fill it out for him- 
self. 

On the Junior High Form, concern is with the check marks 
in the three sub-columns under the heading "The Way I Feel 
About Being As I Am," The ratings are on a three point scale; 
each check mark under "I like it" scores three points, each 
check mark under "I neither like nor dislike" scores two 
points, and each check mark under "I dislike" scores one 
point. 

The total points on the SELF form are summed to arrive 
at a SELF score. Scores of eighty-nine or above are desig- 
nated positive and those of eighty-eight and below are nega- 
tive. The OTHERS form has the same dividing point, 

SELF and OTHERS scores are then categorized: ++, -+, 
+~» OJ^ — • The first sign of each pair designates the score 
on the SELF form as positive or negative, and the second sign 
designates the OTHERS score. A ++ person is one who is 
accepting of himself and who believes that others in his 
peer group are accepting of themselves and a — person has 
a negative self-score and believes that other members of 
his peer group are not accepting of themselves. 

Before the questionnaire and index were administered 
the subjects were informed that they did not have to put 
their names on the forms, although identifying codes were 
on them for the use of the researcher. They were also told 



27 



that the findings from the project v/ould be of benefit in 
helping teachers to better understand and work with young 
teen-age girls. Bills instructions and examples were then 
read and explained to the subjects. 

Hollingshead's (1957) Two Factor Index (Appendix, p. 65) 
was used to determine social class position of the subjects. 
Occupation and education were the two factors utilized to 
classify the subjects into social class positions I, II, III, 
IV, and V, with social position I ranking the highest. 

After data was obtained, the subjects were classified 
into groups in regard to positive or negative self-concepts 
and socio-economic position. Other data from information 
sheet was tabulated and analyzed for differences between 
students with positive self-concepts and negative self- 
concepts in relation to selected variables by means of chi 
square analysis. 



CHAPTER IV 



RESULTS 



The Index of Adjustment and Values was given to 161 
subjects. Seventeen of the papers could not be used because 
of incompleteness. Of the 14A usable papers, eighty-eight 
of the subjects were in the eighth grade and fifty-six were 
in the ninth. Age range of the subjects was from twelve 
years, seven months to fifteen years, seven months with an 
average age of fourteen years, seven months. 

The Index of Adjustment and Values produces a SELF 
score and an OTHERS score with a range from a low of thirty- 
five to a high of 105, According to Bills (1957), SELF and 
OTHERS scores on the Junior High Index of Adjustment and 
Values of eighty-nine and above are considered indicative 
of a positive SELF concept or a positive OTHERS concept. 
Scores of eighty-eight and below indicate negative self- 
concepts of self and others. The SELF scores in this study 
ranged from thirty-five to 105 and the OTHERS scores ranged 
from thirty-nine to 105 with a mean of ninety-two for the 
SELF score and 88,5 for the OTHERS score. 

Using Bills' dividing line between eighty-eight and 
eighty-nine, fifty-five percent (79) of the subjects had 
positive self-concept scores and forty-five percent (65) had 
negative self-concept scores (TABLE 2). Groups were examined 
to discover differences between them in relation to: social 



29 



TABLE 1 



COMPARISON OF SELF SCORES AND OTHER 
SCORES OBTAINED BY BILLS AND FOSTER 



Population SELF Scores OTHERS Scores 



Range 

Bills 35-105 35-105 

Foster 35-105 39-105 

Mean 

Bills 88.5 88.5 

Foster 92 85 



30 



TABLE 2 



SELF SCORES AND OTHERS SCORES OF 144 SUBJECTS 



S cores 



SELF 



OTHERS 



Positive 

N u mb e r 
Percent 



79 
55 



65 
45 



Negative 

Number 
Percent 



64 
44 



80 
56 



31 

position; parents' education; parents' occupation; family 
structure; educational and marital aspirations and grade point 
averages of the subjects. 



Socio-Economic Position 

In order to determine the socio-economic position of 
the subjects, Hollingshead' s (1957) Two Factor Index was 
used. The two factors utilized to determine social position 
were education and occupation. The lower the scores on the 
Index scale the higher the occupational and educational level. 
Thus, an individual with graduate professional training would 
receive a one (1) on the educational scale and a one (1) on 
the occupational scale if he had a high executive position, 
such as the president of a large bank. The occupation score 
then is given a factor weight of seven (7) and education re- 
ceives a factor weight of four (4), The scale scores are 
then multiplied by the factor weight and the sum of the two 
determines one's social class score (TABLE 3), By this means 
the subjects in the present study were placed in the following 
social classes: Class II, four subjects; Class III, twenty 
subjects; Class IV, twenty-eight subjects; and Class V, 
thirty subjects (TABLE A). None of the subjects received 
scores that would place them in Social Class I, the highest 
position. Sixty-two subjects could not be categorized into 
a social class because of insufficient information. 

Representative of the types of families that were 
found in social class II are a high school teacher and a 



32 



TABLE 3 



HOLLINGSHEADS' TWO FACTOR INDEX 



Social Class Range of Scores 



I 11-17 

H 18-27 

III 28-43 

IV 44-60 

V 61-77 



33 



TABLE 4 

SOCIAL CLASS LEVEL OF SUBJECTS 
WITH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE SELF SCORES 



Social Class Total Positive Negative 

Position Sample Scorers Scorers 







Number 


Percent 


N 


umber 


Percent 


Number 


Percent 


I 




• • 


« • 




• • 


• • 


• • 


• • 


II 




4 


3 




3 


75 


1 


25 


III 




20 


14 




12 


60 


8 


40 


IV 




28 


19 




17 


60 


11 


40 


V 




30 


21 




15 


50 


15 


50 


Unclasslf ie 


d 


62 


43 




32 


52 


3b 


48 


Total 




14A 


« « 




79 


« • 


65 


« 



34 



speech therapist, both with college educations. Occupations 
such as construction work and school bus driver with a 
junior high or partial high school education are representa- 
tive of families in social class V, Of the twenty-four 
subjects placed in the two upper social classes (II and III) , 
fifteen had positive self-concept scores and nine had nega- 
tive self-concept scores. Sixty percent (17) of the subjects 
in class IV and fifty percent (15) in social class V had 
positive self-concept scores. The subjects who could not be 
classified into social classes were about evenly divided 
into positive and negative self-scores. A chi square 
analysis showed no relationship between self-scores and 
social class level. 



Parents' Education 

Twenty-nine subjects omitted the question concerning 
education of father. Of the 115 completed answers, twenty 
percent (23) of the subjects reported their fathers had 
less than a high school education, fifty-six percent (64) 
reported some high school education or high school graduation 
and twenty-four percent (28) some college education or 
college graduation (TABLE 5). Some of the subjects reported 
the education of their fathers, even if the fathers were 
absent from the home. 

From the 122 answers regarding mothers education, 
twelve percent (15) of the subjects' mothers had less than 
a high school education, sixty-four percent (78) had some 



Educational 
Level 



35 



TABLE 5 



EDUCATIONAL LEVEL OF SUBJECTS' PARENTS 



Total 
Samp le 



Positive 
S corers 



Negative 
S corers 



Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent 



Father: 

Below High School 23 20 

Some High School 

or Graduate 64 56 

Some College or 

Graduate 28 24 



13 



35 



19 



57 



55 



69 



10 



43 



29 45 
9 31 



Mother: 

Below High School 15 12 

Some High School 

or Graduate 78 64 

Some College or 

Graduate 29 24 



44 



15 



60 



55 



52 



34 



14 



40 

45 
48 



36 

high school education or were graduates, twenty-four percent 
(29) had some college education or were graduates. Twenty- 
two subjects omitted the question (TABLE 5). 

No significant difference existed between the two groups, 
in relation to fathers' education. However, of the twenty- 
eight subjects whose fathers were college educated, sixty- 
nine percent had positive self-concepts while only fifty- 
seven percent of the subjects whose fathers had no college 
education had positive self- concepts . The opposite direction 
appeared when mothers' education was considered. More sub- 
jects whose mothers' had no college education had positive 
self scores than did subjects with college educated mothers. 
Those who omitted the question concerning parents education 
were about equally divided between positive and negative 
self-concepts « 

Parents* Occupations 

Thirty-nine subjects omitted the question concerning 
their fathers' occupations. Fathers' occupations were 
varied. Among the 105 responses to the question the largest 
number were classified as unskilled jobs (53). Only two 
fathers were classified as "lesser professionals," 
according to Hollingshead' s Two Factor Index (TABLE 6). 
Seven percent (7) were owners of small businesses, ten 
percent (11) had clerical or sales jobs, fourteen percent 
(15) were engaged in skilled occupations, eleven percent (12) 
had positions of a semi-skilled nature, and five percent (5) 



37 



TABLE 6 



OCCUPATIONAL LEVELS OF SUBJECTS' PARENTS 



Occupational 
Level 



Total 
Samp le 



Positive 
S corers 



Negative 
S corers 



Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent 



Father: 

Major Professionals 
Lesser Professionals 
Owner of Small 



Mother: 

Major Professionals .. 
Lesser Professionals 10 



15 



100 



Business 




7 


7 


5 


71 


2 


29 


Clerical and 


Sales 


11 


10 


7 


64 


4 


36 


Skilled Manua 


il 


15 


14 


9 


60 


6 


40 


Semi-Skilled 




12 


11 


3 


25 


9 


75 


Unskilled 




53 


51 


31 


59 


22 


41 


Unemployed 




5 


5 


3 


60 


2 


40 



30 



70 



Owner of Small 














Business 


• « 


• • 


• • 


* « 


• • 


• • 


Clerical and Sales 


3 


5 


3 


100 


• • 


• « 


Skilled Manual 


12 


18 


7 


58 


5 


42 


Semi-Skilled 


13 


20 


7 


54 


6 


46 


Unskilled 


28 


42 


13 


45 


15 


55 



38 

were unemployed. Of the professional fathers, one was a 
secondary school teacher and the other worked in the public 
schools as a speech therapist. Barber shops, restaurants, 
and cleaners are examples of small businesses that were owned 
by the families. Of those that were clerical or sales 
oriented, the majority were post office clerks and insurance 
salesmen. Unskilled employees were in large part construction 
workers. No difference was found between groups with positive 
and negative self-concepts in relation to fathers occupation. 

Thirty-nine subjects omitted the question concerning 
their mothers' occupation. Thirty-nine also stated their 
mothers worked but did not know the kind of work they did. 
In twenty-eight of the remaining 105 cases the mothers did 
not work. Of the sixty-six working mothers whose job classif- 
ication could be determined, fifteen (10) were classified as 
"lesser professionals," five percent (3) had clerical jobs, 
eighteen percent (12) had highly skilled occupations, twenty 
percent (13) were in semi-skilled positions and forty-two 
percent (28) held unskilled positions (TABLE 6), Those 
mothers who were classified as professionals were nurses or 
teachers. Those with clerical jobs were mostly post office 
clerks. Skilled and semi-skilled workers were secretaries, 
clerks, key punch operators, practical nurses and factory 
workers. Jobs such as baby-sitter, bus chaperon and maids 
are examples of occupations of an unskilled nature. 

No difference was found between groups with positive 
self-concepts and negative self-concepts when employment 



39 

of the mother was considered. Two subjects whose mothers did 
not work made the following statements in answer to the 
question concerning their mothers' occupations: "She doesn't 
have to work," "My mother is a wonderful housewife," Both sub- 
jects had positive self-concepts. 

Seventy percent (65) of the mothers from intact families 
worked outside the home, thirty percent (28) did not. From 
among the sixty-six intact families, with mothers working, 
twenty three percent (14) of the husbands had higher job 
classifications than their wives, while thirty percent (24) 
of the wives had a higher job classification than their hus- 
bands. Job classifications were equal among forty-two 
percent (28) of the parents, 

A number of parents had job training in addition to 
their formal education. Twenty-nine girls reported some 
extra job training for their fathers. Twelve stated their 
fathers had business training, sixteen were trained to 
operate machines and one had salesmanship training. 

Seventy-one subjects reported extra job training for 
their mothers. Six of the mothers were trained beauticians, 
nine were practical nurses, four were secretaries, and 
sixteen had Head Start training. 



40 

FAMILY STRUCTURE 

Of the 139 subjects who answered the question concerning 
their parents' marital status, ninety-four reported an intact 
family and forty-five reported a non-intact family (TABLE 7), 
No difference was found in the self-concept of the two groups. 

The subjects listed the following as the persons with 
whom they lived: eighty-nine lived with both parents; forty- 
three lived with one parent; six lived with neither parent 
and six omitted the question. 

Neither the ordinal position of the subjects or the 
number of children in the family appeared to affect positive 
or negative concept development. Twenty-nine percent (41) 
of the subjects were the oldest, seventeen percent (25) the 
youngest, six percent (9) were only children, and forty-eight 
percent (69) occupied other positions among the siblings. 
Family size ranged from one child to thirteen (TABLE 7) . 

Aspirations of Subjects 

Ninety-five percent (138) of the subjects stated they 
planned to finish high school and five percent (6) did not 
plan to finish. Sixty-seven percent (96) planned to go to 
college, eight percent (14) did not plan to go to college, 
and twenty-five percent (34) were undecided about college. 
No relationship was found between school aspirations and 
self-concept scores. 

Eleven percent (16) of the subjects were enrolled in 
a homemaking class for the first time when this data was 



TABLE 7 



DESCRIPTION OF FAMILY STRUCTURE 



41 



Family 
Characteristics 



Total 
Sample 



Positive 
Scorers 



Negative 
S corers 



Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent 



Marital Status 

Intact 

Families 94 65 

Non-intact 

Families 45 35 

Ordinal Position 

Oldest 41 29 

Youngest 25 17 

Only 9 6 

Other 69 48 

Number of Children 

1 to 2 13 9 

3 to A 44 31 

5 to 6 59 41 

7 or more 28 19 



54 
27 



57 



60 



40 
18 



43 



40 



26 


63 


15 


37 


14 


56 


11 


44 


6 


67 


3 


33 


35 


51 


34 


49 



10 


77 


3 


23 


23 


52 


21 


AS 


31 


53 


28 


47 


13 


46 


15 . 


54 



42 

collected, eighty-six percent (124) had taken homemaking 
before, and three percent (4) of the subjects did not respond 
to the question, Horaeraaking, English, and mathematics were 
listed as the favorite subjects, and mathematics, social 
science, and physical education were listed as least favorite 
sub j e cts . 

Favorite subjects marked by ten percent of those answer- 
ing were: mathematics, homemaking, social sciences, physical 
education, and english. Three others marked by ten percent 
as least favorite were: mathematics, social science, and 
english. While mathematics was listed by nineteen percent 
as favorite, over thirty-four percent (50) marked it as 
least favorite. 

In response to the question, "When do you plan to get 
married?", forty-two percent (62) of the subjects stated 
they did not know, thirteen percent (18) planned to get mar- 
ried after high school, three percent (6) said during college, 
and eleven percent (16) stated they never wanted to be mar- 
ried. No subjects reported plans for marriage during high 
school. 

The subjects' aspirations concerning jobs varied. The 
three occupations most frequently mentioned were: nurse-- 
twenty percent (28); teacher — sixteen percent (23); and 
secretary — thirteen percent (18). Six percent (9) of the 
subjects stated they wanted to be a model or singer, eight 
percent (12) wanted to be beauticians, five percent (8) 



43 

wanted to be airline hostesses, seven percent (10) omitted the 
question. Twenty-five percent (36) of job aspirations were 
classified under "other," which included such occupations as: 
computer programmer, x-ray technician, cartoonist, doctor, 
meteorologist, journalist, work in hamburger place, and house- 
work. 



Grade Point Averages of Subjects 

The grade point averages of forty-eight of the fifty- 
six ninth grade subjects were obtained at the end of the 
school year. Eight of the subjects that had participated in 
the study had transferred or dropped out of school. Unit 
credits and scholarship points are used to compute scholar- 
ship averages. This information was not available for the 
eighth grade. Pupil achievement is evaluated by use of letter 
marks with meanings as follows: "E"-excellent , "S"-superior , 
"M"-medium, "I"-inf erior , and "F"-failure (TABLE 8). No 
difference was found between the positive self-concept group 
and negative self-concept group in scholastic averages. 



'■J^j--' 



44 



TABLE 8 



GRADE POINT AVERAGE OF NINTH GRADE SUBJECTS 



Grade Point Total Positive Negative 

Average Sample Scorers Scorers 

Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent 



E-S 6.00-5.00 24 50 18 75 6 25 

M 4.99-4.00 9 19 2 23 7 77 

I-F 3.99-2.00 15 31 10 67 15 33 



CHAPTER V 



DISCUSSION 



Index of Adjustment and Values 

The mean score on Bills Index of Adjustment and Value was 
88.5 and the self score mean in the study was ninety-two. It 
was expected that the mean score would be lower than in Bills 
work and the scores of a majority of the subjects would fall in 
the negative category, since all of the subjects were Negro and 
there are many conditions which seem to negate the development 
of a positive self-concept. 

The fairly even division of subjects into positive and nega- 
tive self-concept categories might be the result of an attempt on 
the part of the student to "fit in," or to give answers they 
believed to be acceptable to the teacher. 

The list of adjectives that Bills prepared in 1957 may not 
be as important today as they were when they were prepared. The 
language of the minority group, too, might give very different 
connotations to particular words on the list. If a list of rele- 
vant trait words were prepared the emerging picture might be 
different . 

Work must be continued to develop instruments that have 
validity and reliability in measuring the feeling of Negro 
adolescents about themselves. 



Social Class Position 

It is often difficult to use any instrument that has been 
standardized on a white population for measuring a black popula- 
tion because of different life styles. In the American society 



46 

the male is considered head of the household, this is often not 
true in black families. "Society has rules which regulate black 
lives far more than the lives of white men... if a man is stripped 
of his authority in the home by forces outside that home, the 
woman naturally must assume the status of head of household" 
(Grier and Cobbs, 1968, p. 51). This is often the case in Negro 
families. If education and occupation of parents, in Negro 
families, are of a different social level the family often 
lives by the mother's standards. According to Grier and Cobbs 
(1968) , the slave mother taught her sons not to be assertive 
and aggressive because it could put his life in danger. Negro 
mothers still, perhaps unconsciously, prepare their sons for 
their subordinate places in the world. Silberman (1964) stated 
studies have shown that generally more Negro girls than boys 
attend college (among whites, the reverse is true) and so the 
matriarchy perpetuates itself. 

Forty-three percent of the subjects could not be placed in 
a social class level because of insufficient information concern- 
ing their fathers' education and occupation. Lack of communica- 
tion between family members appears to be a problem in most fam- 
ilies, but especially in lower class Negro families. Forty per- 
cent (58) of the subjects in this study were in social classes 
IV and V, the lowest on Hollingshead ' s scale. Only four families 
were in social class II and no one was in social class I. 

Parents ' Education 

Although chi square analysis showed no relationship 
between self-concept scores and the educational level of 



47 

either father or mother, a greater number of subjects had posi- 
tive self-concepts when the father had some college education 
than when he did not. This was not true in regard to the 
mothers' education, 

A larger percentage of mothers in this study (64 percent) 
had a high school education than the fathers (56 percent). 
In Negro families, frequently more girls than boys go to col- 
lege (Silberman, 1964). Often boys must "drop out" of school 
to help support the family, especially if the father is absent 
from the home. There is also a feeling of "why educate the 
boys, they can take care of themselves," Perhaps education 
does not hold the same value in the Negro family as in the 
general population. 

Parents' Occupation 

Occupations of the majority of both parents in this study 
were of the unskilled nature. Generally, the fathers were 
construction workers or employees in automobile factories. 
Many of the mothers were maids, waitresses, and nurses' aides. 
Lack of communication within the families was also exhibited 
here — the subjects often knew where their parents worked, but 
they had no idea of the kind or nature of the work. When 
some of the subjects were asked about their fathers' occupa- 
tions, replies were of the following nature: "He didn't tell 
me," "I don't know," "I don't ever talk to my dad." 

The subjects reported that seventy-one of their mothers 
had extra job training in addition to their formal education 



48 



whereas only twenty-nine girls reported their fathers had 
additional job training. Perhaps this is indicative of the 
"less aggressive" role that many Negro males assume, 

Silberraan (196A) stated that the Negro unemployment 
rate is higher than the white rate in every major occupation; 
however, in this study only five percent (5) were unemployed. 
None of the subjects stated they were on welfare, 105 mothers 
worked outside the home. 

Family Structure 

Sixty-five percent (94) of the subjects were from intact 
families, the remainder were from non-intact families. This 
appeared to have very little effect on the self-concepts of 
the subjects as measured by Bills' instrument. One of the 
reasons could be that the Negro family is primarily matri- 
archal even when the father is present. Another reason could 
be that non-intact Negro families often receive support from 
the communities in which they live, in regard to the rearing 
of their children. 

Aspirations 

Ninety-five percent (137) of the subjects stated they 
planned to finish high school and sixty-seven percent (96) 
planned to attend college. Three of the ninth grade girls 
who participated in the research and who stated they planned 
to finish high school, left school during the spring because 
of pregnancy. The question this brings to mind is: since 



- t^'/ 



A9 

the girls were probably pregnant when they participated in the 
research, were the aspirations they stated really theirs? 
Were they giving answers they thought were expected by their 
teacher? 

According to Silberman (1964), a number of studies have 
shown that Negro parents have high aspirations for their 
children — higher, in fact, than those held by white parents 
in the same socio-economic class, Lee and Stith (1969) reported 
low-income Negro mothers appeared to have high aspirations for 
themselves and their children. They wanted help for themselves 
in achieving better interpersonal relations and wanted their 
children to be better prepared for adult life than they had 
been. 

Becoming "educated" is one of the ways in which Negroes 
feel they can improve their present condition. Ironical as 
it might seem, after a Negro has become "educated" he is 
often resented by those in the community that are not educated. 
Also, he still may find many doors closed to him except in 
menial jobs. In the words of Grier and Cobbs (1968, p. 125): 
"The black man who has breached so many barriers to achieve 
academic status must realize that further doors are open to 
all save him. , .his is a blind alley... his achievements are 
circumscribed by the same impediments of discrimination as 
are those of this less gifted brother." 

Job aspirations among the subjects varied. Perhaps 
those jobs mentioned more often represented the professions 



50 

that the subjects had seen more Negro females occupying than 
any others. The students had recently heard a lecture by a 
Negro airline hostess which probably accounts for high 
interests in that occupation. Varied job opportunities class- 
ified under "others" could be an indication of students' 
awareness of more job opportunities for Negroes, 

Of particular interest were some comments that the 
subjects made in regard to the question "What kind of job do 
you want to have?" Many of the subjects wanted "to help 
others," Comments included: "taking care of the handicapped," 
"a kind where I could help people or children in some way, 
maybe blind or crippled children," "I want to be a social 
worker," "I want to work in the field of law, I want to be 
able to help people," A number of the subjects also expressed 
interest in "making money," Comments included; "nurse or 
model, either one so that I can make big money," "one with 
high paying money," "I would love to have a job that I will 
have fun doing and have enough money to have the things I • 
have always wanted," 

A number of subjects wanted to get married after high 
school or after college, but forty-two percent stated they 
did not know when or if they wanted to get married. Ninety- 
five percent of the subjects planned to finish high school 
and sixty-seven percent planned to attend college. 



51 

Grade Point Average 

The grade point averages were only available for forty- 
eight of the ninth grade subjects. Fifty percent (24) of the 
subjects had an "E" or "S" grade point average, nineteen 
percent (9) had a grade point average of "M" and thirty-one 
percent (15) had an "I" or "F" average. It was expected that 
there would be some relationship between scholastic average 
and self-concepts; high scholastic average — positive self- 
concept, low scholastic average--negative self-concept. How- 
ever, this was not true in this study since sixty-seven percent 
of the students with an "I" average had positive self-concepts 
and thirty-three percent had negative self-concepts. Of the 
students with "E" averages, fifty-eight percent had positive 
self-concepts and forty-two percent had negative self-concepts. 
Perhaps school failure or success is not important to these 
children. 



Self-Concept 

Fifty-five percent of the subjects had positive self- 
concepts and forty-five percent had negative self-concepts. 
Two quite contradicting questions deserve attention. Is it 
reasonable to expect half the sample of any population to 
have negative self-concepts? It is important to more thoroughly 
understand the conditions in the lives of these students that 
might cause such a large number of them to view themselves 
negatively. On the other hand, in the view of the difficulties 
which Negro youth face in todays society, a second question 



52 



could be: What accounts for the positive self-concept scores? 
Poverty, discrimination and prejudice are three factors which 
may contribute to the development of negative self-concepts. 
In many Negro families there are two sources of income, conse- 
quently, these subjects have not experienced "dire" poverty, 
A number of students had perhaps led rather sheltered lives, 
free from "direct" discrimination. Most subjects have engaged 
in the use of integrated public facilities such as restrooms, 
restaurants, movies, and bowling alleys. Perhaps these sub- 
jects receive support from the parents and community which 
enables them to look ahead; to work for better opportunities 
for themselves and their children. The black community can 
capitalize on the changes which evidently are taking place. 

No significant relationship was found between self- 
concept scores and any of the variables tested: social class; 
education of parents; occupational level of parents; family 
structure (marital status, family size, ordinal position); 
aspiration of subjects (educational, marital, occupational); 
or academic achievement of the subjects. 



CHAPTER VI 
SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS 

Whatever it is that causes an Individual to act or not 
to act, a significant role is played in this determination by 
what the person thinks about himself (Wylie, 1961), 

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relation- 
ship between positive and negative self-concepts and the fol- 
lowing: 1) social position, 2) parents' education, 3) parents' 
employment, 4) family structure, and 3) education and marital 
aspirations and academic achievement of the subjects. 

One hundred forty-four Negro students, enrolled in home 
economics at a Junior High School in central Kansas City, 
Missouri, where the investigator taught, were asked to partici- 
pate in the research project. 

A questionnaire was designed to gain information about 
social class position, family structure, and aspirations of 
the subjects. Bills' Index of Adjustment and Values was 
used to assess self-concept and Hollingshead' s Two Factor 
Index was used to determine social class position of the sub- 
jects. 

Eighty-nine of the subjects were in the eighth grade 
and fifty-six were in the ninth grade. Ages ranged from 
twelve years, seven months to fifteen years, seven months 
with an average age of fourteen years, seven months. 

Forty-three percent (62) of the subjects could not be 
classified into social class positions because of insufficient 



54 

Information* A majority of the subjects classified v/ere placed 
in social class positions IV and V, the lowest levels. None 
could be placed in social class position I. Fifty-five 
percent of the subjects had positive self-concepts, and forty- 
five percent had negative self-concepts. 

Fifty-one percent (53) of the fathers were unskilled 
laborers and two percent (2) were classified as "lesser pro- 
fessionals." Fourteen percent (23) of the subjects' fathers 
had less than a high school education and eighteen percent 
(28) had some college education or were college graduates. 
Ten percent (15) of the mothers were classified as ".lesser 
professionals" and twenty-eight percent (40) held a position 
of unskilled nature. Eleven percent (15) of the mothers had 
less than a high school education and twenty percent (29) 
had some college education or were graduates. Sixty-five per- 
cent (94) of the subjects were from intact families. 

Implications for Action and Research 

Opportunities for parents, educators, and other persons 
interested in helping to foster positive self-concept develop- 
ment among Negro youngsters are numerous. 

The home setting of the Negro child often does not pro- 
vide ingredients for positive self-concept development — 
partially because the parents have often had few experiences 
with stability, warmth and affection to adequately guide 
their children. However, the schools can play a major role 
in developing positive self-concepts by providing warmth, 



55 

welcome, and support — which Negro children need in abundance 
because they have experienced much deprivation. The Negro 
child, from earliest school entry through graduation from high 
school, needs continued opportunities to see himself and his 
racial group in a realistically positive light. He needs to 
understand what color and race mean; he needs to learn about 
those of his race who have succeeded; he needs to clarify his 
understanding of Negro history and the current Negro situa- 
tion. The expectation level of students should also be raised 
as children seldom exceed their teachers expectation for them. 

Many projects currently in operation should help to 
improve self-concept development of the Negro child, but 
change is slow. Some of the projects include: desegregated 
schools, governmental food and housing programs, job and 
scholarship offerings by agencies and institutions, focus on 
black youngsters in textbooks, Negro history and an identi- 
fication with Africa, How long will the focus on the Negro 
last? How long will it take to wipe out the self-hatred that 
has accumulated through so many generations? If the adolescent 
can be reached with the "new image" of the Negro, younger 
children can certainly be reached--the hope of the Negro lies 
in future generations. 

More research needs to be designed to explore effects of 
the American color-caste system on the self-concept develop- 
ment of Negro children. Only when we can look beyond color, 
can we see the Negro as he really is'-an individual, with 



56 



basic human needs that must be met if he is to reach his full 
potential. 

Different factors have different effects upon individualsi 
If the "pattern of life" of each subject were explored indi- 
vidually, one could perhaps select those variables that have 
contributed most toward positive or negative self-concept 
development. This study was designed to investigate the overt 
factor of family life styles and their relationship to self- 
concept development. Perhaps the question should be asked, 
"What are the factors within the "inner family circle" such 
as: relationships, support, values, and guidance that would 
aid or hinder positive concept development?" These are dif- 
ficult to measure. There are evidently strengths in the 
Negro family which must be defined and undergirded. 



57 



LITERATURE CITED 



Akline, V, Dibs in Search of Self . New York: Ballantine, 
196 4. 

Allport, G, The Nature of Prc-iudice . Cambridse, Massachusetts 
Addison Wesley Publishing Co., Inc., 195A. 

Bills, R. Rorschach characteristics of persons scoring high . 
and low in acceptance of self. J. of Consult. Psychol. , 
1953, _17» 36-38. 

Bills, R. Index of Adjustment and Values. Nanual « Alabama 
Polytechnic Institute, Auburn. (Mimeograph) Undated, 

Bills, R, Self-concept and rorschach signs of depression. 
J. of Consult. Psychol. . 1954, 18^, 135-136. 

Broom, L. and Gleen, N. Negro-white differences in reported 
attitudes and behavior. Socio!, and Soc. Res. . 1966, 
50 . 187-200. 

Carlson, R, Stability and change in the adolescents self- 
image. Child Develop. . 1965, 2i. 659-666. 

Carpenter, H. Growing in self-evaluation. Instructor . 
1966, 21. 24-25. 

Clark, K. Prejudices and Your Child . Boston: Beacon Press, 
Inc., 1963. 

Crary, W. Reaction to incongruent self-experience. J . of 
Consult. Psychol. . 1966, 30_, 246-252. 

Eames, T. H. Attitudes and opinions of adolescents. J . of 
Educ. . 1965, 147 . 3-6. 

Fink, M. Self-concept as it relates to academic underachieve- 
ment. In D. E. Hamachek (Ed.), The Self in Growth , 
Teaching and Learning . 1965, 486-492, 

Gibson, A. I Always Wanted To Be Somebody . New York: 
Harper and Row, 1958. 

Goodman, M. Race Awareness in Young Children . New York: 
Collier Books, 1966. 

Green, R. After school integration-what? Personnel and 
Guid. J. . 1966, 44, 704-710. 



58 



Gregory, Sister S.C.L. Self-concept in the school situation. 
Catholic Sch. J. . 1966, 66, 53-55. 

Grier, W. and Cobbs, P. Black Raj>e . New York: Bantam 
Books, Inc., 1968. 

Griffin, J. Black Like Me . New York: Sepia Publishing 
Co., 1960. 

Haley, A. and X, Malcolm. The Autobiography of Malcolm X . 
New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1964. 

Hall, M. A conversation with Kenneth Clark. Psychology 
Today . 1966, 62-66. 

Hamachek, D. Self-concept implications for teaching and 
learning. Sch. and Community . 1969, 18-19. 

Herman, Sister M. The self-concept of the Negro child. 
Catholic Sch. J. . 1966, _66, 62-66. 

Hollingshead, A. Social Class and Mental Illness . New 
York: Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1957, 387-392. 

Holt, J, How Children Fail . New York: Dell Publishing 
Co., 1964. 

Hummel, R. and Sprinthall, N, Underachievement related to 
interest, attitudes and values. Personnel and 
Guidance J. . 1965, £4, 388-395. 

Jensen, A. Can Negroes learn the way whites do? U.S. 
News and World Report . 1969, 6_6, 48-51. 

Jersild, A. In Search of Self . New York: Teachers College, 
Columbia University, 1952. 

Johnson, K. Self-concept validation as the focus of marriage 
counseling. The Family Coordinator . 1968, 17, 174-180. 

Joseph, S. The Me Nobody Knows . New York: Avon Books, 1969. 

Kohl, H. 36 Children . New York: Sepia Publishing Co., 1968. 

Kozel, J. Death At An Early Age . New York: Bantam Books, 
Inc., 1967. 

Kvaraceus, W., Gibson, J., Patterson, F. , Seasholes, B., 
and Grambs, J. Negro Self-Concept; Implications for 
School and Citizenship . New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965. 



59 



Lee, I, and Stith, M. Opinions about sex education held by 
lo\r?-income Negro mothers. Journal of Home Economics , 
1969, 61, 359-362. 

Leinwand, G. The Ne^ro in the City . New York: Washington . 
Square Press, Inc., 1968, 

Lowe, C. M. The self -concep t : fact or artifact? Psychol . 
Bull . . 1961, 58, 325-336. 

Lumer, H, Poverty; Its Roots and Its Future . New York: 
International Publishers, 1965, 

Mary, Sister B. Formation of student attitudes. Catholic 
Sch. J .. 1966, 66_, 52-54. 

Maslow, A. Self-actualizing people: a study of psychological 
health. Personality Symposia on Topical Issues . New 
York: Grune and Stratton, 1950, 

Meltzer, M. A History of the American Negro , New York: 
Crowell Co., 1967, 

McDonald, R, and Gynther, M, Relationship of self and ideal 
self descriptions with sex, race and class in southern 
adolescents, J. of Personality and Soc. Psychol .. 1965, 
_1, 85-88. 

Moustakas, C. The Authentic Teacher . Cambridge, Massachusetts 
Doyle Publishing Co., 1966, 1-18. 

Moustakas, C. Loneliness , Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: 
Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1961, 

Munat, C. Four, poor, nonwhite and out of sight. Young 
Children . 1968, 2_4, 4-12. 

Neill, A. S. Summerhill . New York: Hart Publishing Co., 
1960. 

Glim, E. The self-actualizing person in the fully functioning 
family. The Family Coordinator . 1968, 3_» 141-148. 

Parks, G. A Choice of Weapons . New York: Berkley Publishing 
Corp., 1965. 

Rogers, C. Becoming A Person . Austin, Texas: The Hogg 
Foundation for Mental Health, 1966. 

Rosenberg, M. Society and The Adolescent Self-image . 

Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 
1965. 



«'^?: ■ 



60 



Rowan, H. Whether (and when) little cliildren should be helped 
to learn, Carncp.lc Quarterly , 1969, 17 , 

Silberman, C. Crises in Black and VJhlte , New York: Random 
House , Inc. , 196 4, 

Skinner, T, Black and Free . Grand Rapids, Michigan: 
Zondervan Publishing House, 1968, 

Sparghts, E, Accuracy of self-estimation of junior high 

school students, J . of Educ. Res, . 1965, 58, 416-419. 

Steiner, U, , and Gebser, J. Anxiety-A Condition of Modern 
Man , New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc, , 1963, 

Wylie, R, The Self-Concept , Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1961, 



61 



APPENDIX 



■'iJ^rj^WT"' 



62 



PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS 

1. Age , . 

Years MonChs 

2. Birth date 



3. Grade (Check one) 



8 th 
9th 



A, Ages of brothers 
5« Ages of sisters 



6* Is this your first class in Home Economics? (Check, one) 

Yes No 

7« Do you plan to finish high school? (Check one) 

Yes No Don't know 



8, Do you plan to go to college? (Check one) 
Yes No Don't know 



9« When do you plan to get married? (Check one) 

While you are in high school When you finish high school 

While you are in college When you finish college 

Don't know Never , 

10 « What kind of job do you want to have? (Explain) 



11. What is your favorite school subject? 



12, What is your least favorite subject' 



63 



13. Are your parents (Check one) 

Married Divorced Separated 

Widowed 



Other (Explain) 



14. Age of parents 
Age of father 



Age of mother 



15, With whom do you live? (Check one) 

Both parents Mother Father 

Other (Explain) 



16, Does your father work outside the home? (Check one) 

Yes No 

17, If the above answer is yes, what kind of work does your 
father do? 



18, Does your mother work outside the home? (Check one) 

Yes No 

19, If the above answer is yes, what kind of work does your 
mother do? 



20. Check the highest grade in school your father finished, 

No school 

Less than 7 years of school (1st grade through 6th) 

Junior high school (7th grade through 9th) 

Some high school (10th grade through 12th) 

High school graduate 

Some college 

Finished college 



21, In addition, does your father have any other job trainin 



(Check one) 



None 



g. 



Other 



64 



Check the type of training: 
Business Machine operator 



IBM school 



Salesmanship 



Other (Explain) 



22, 



23, 



Check the highest grade in school your mother finished. 

_______ No school 

Less than 7 years of school (Ist grade through 6th) 

Junior high school (7th grade through 9th) 

Some high school (10th grade through 12th) 

High school graduate 

Some college 

Finished college 



In addition, does your mother have any other job training? 
(Check one) 



Beauty operator 
Registered nurse 



Practical nurse 



Secretarial or typing 

Head Start training Other (Explain) 



65 



THE, TWO FACTOR INDEX OF SOCIAL POSITION 

The Scale Scores 

To determine the social position of an individual or 
of a household two items are essential: 1) the precise 
occupational role the head of the household performs in 
the economy, and 2) the amount of formal schooling he had 
received. Each of these factors are then scaled according 
to the following system of scores. 

The Occupational Scale 

1, Higher Executives, Proprietors of Large Concerns, 
and Major Professionals, 

2, Business Managers, Proprietors of Medium-sized 
Businesses, and Lesser Professionals, 

3, Administrative Personnel, Small Independent Busi- 
nesses, and Minor Professionals, 

4, Clerical and Sales Workers, Technicians, and Owners 
of Little Businesses, 

5, Skilled Manual Employees, 

6, Machine Operators and Semi-Skilled Employees, 

7, Unskilled Employees, 

The Educational Scale 

1, Graduate Professional Training 

2, Standard College or University Graduation 

3, Partial College Training 

4, High School Graduates 

5, Partial High School 

6, Junior High School 

7, Less Than Seven Years of Schooling 



Factor Factor Weight 

Occupation 7 

Education 4 



■ ■■■-■i'V^;! 



66 



Index o£ social position is computed as follows : 



Factor Scale Score Factor Weight Score x Weight 



Occupation 
Education 



3 
3 



7 21 

4 2i 

Index of Social 33 
Position Score 



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SELF-CONCEPT AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC 
LEVEL OF NEGRO TEENAGE GIRLS 



by 



VERLYNE EMMA FOSTER 
B, S., Langstoii University, 1957 



AN ABSTRACT OF A MASTER'S THESIS 



submitted in partial fulfillment of the 



requirements for the degree 



MASTER OF SCIENCE 



Department of Family and Child Development 



KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY 
Manhattan, Kansas 



1969 



The purpose of this study was to investigate the 
relationship between positive and negative self-concepts 
and the following items: 1) social class position, 2) 
parents' education, 3) parents' employment, 4) family 
structure, and 5) aspirations and academic achievement 
of the subjects. 

One hundred forty-four Negro students, enrolled in 
home economics at a junior high school in central Kansas 
City, Missouri, where the investigator taught, participated 
in the research project. 

An information sheet was given to the subjects to 
gain more knowledge about their family structure and aspira- 
tions. Bills' Index of Adjustment and Values was used to 
assess self-concepts and Hollingshead' s Two Factor Index 
was used to determine social position of the subjects. 

Eighty-eight subjects were in the eighth grade, and 
fifty-six were in the ninth grade. Ages ranged from twelve 
years, seven months to fifteen years, seven months. Fifty- 
five percent of the subjects had positive self-concepts and 
forty-five percent had negative self-concepts. 

A majority of the subjects who could be classified 
were placed in social class positions IV and V, these being 
the lowest. No one was placed in social class position I. 
Forty-three subjects could not be classified because of 
insufficient information. 

Fifty-one percent of the fathers were unskilled laborers 
and only two percent were classified as professionals. 



Fourteen percent of the subjects' fathers had less than a 
high school education and eighteen percent had some college 
education or were graduates. Ten percent of the mothers 
were classified as professionals and twenty-eight percent 
held a position of unskilled nature. Eleven percent of the 
mothers had less than a high school education and twenty 
percent had some college education or were graduates* 

Sixty-five percent of the subjects were from intact 
families. Family size ranged from one child to thirteen 
and subjects were found to occupy all ordinal positions. 

Ninety-five percent of the subjects planned to finish 
high school and sixty-seven percent planned to go to college. 
Forty-two percent of the students stated they did not know 
when they planned to get married, thirteen percent planned 
to get married after high school, twenty-eight percent when 
they finished college, and eleven percent stated they never 
wanted to marry. Job aspirations of the subjects varied — 
the three most frequently mentioned jobs were: nurse, 
teacher, and secretary. 

No significant difference was found between the high 
concept group and the low concept group in relation to any 
of the variables tested: social class, education of parents, 
occupational level of parents, family structure (marital 
status, family size, ordinal position), aspiration of subjects 
(educational, marital, occupational), or academic achieve- 
ment of the subjects.